New York -
used a product review here Wednesday to demonstrate its leadership position in 3D TV technology and to underscore that 3D advances have made its sets some of the industry's top 2D performers, as well.
The event was staged to support the recent release of the company's flagship VT25 series 3D plasma TVs, in the 50-, 54- 58- and 65-inch screen sizes, all of which are now all shipping to dealers with on-floor sales support.
The company will not allow its 3D TVs or Blu-ray players to be sold online to encourage consumers to come into stores to get the full immersive "3D experience," said Julie Baumann, Panasonic TV product manager.
The latest screen sizes in the series to ship were the 65- and 58-inch models, which completed one of the industry's earliest deliveries of a 3D TV assortment.
Panasonic said the VT25 series is distinguished by its THX-certified Cinema Mode, a 5,000,000:1 native contrast ratio, an improved NeoPDP panel with reduced power consumption, full 1080p resolution to each eye in 3D with an equivalent of a 600Hz refresh rate and advanced features including Skype HD video conferencing with optional add-on camera, and a suite of built-in Viera Cast IP TV services.
Panasonic is playing up its end-to-end 3D development story, which includes providing equipment and systems for 3D production, authoring of 3D Blu-ray Discs through Panasonic Hollywood Labs and development of 3D TVs with some of the fastest switching times in the industry, resulting in a significant reduction of cross talk (3D image blurring or ghosting) through the use of a new phosphor formulation.
Purchasers of Panasonic VT25 3D sets also receive a free pair of stereoscopic glasses.
In stores Panasonic is providing special merchandising end-cap displays to play up the company's sets, Blu-ray players and supporting audio equipment including new speaker bars.
The company will ship in June the SC-HTB10 $199 suggested retail) 120-watt speaker bar followed in July by the 240-watt SC-HTB500 ($349).
The HTB500 is a 2.1 system with up-firing sound field positioning to make the sound seem to be coming directly out of the screen. It's dimensions are ideal for use with 42- and 50-inch sets, and it includes a wireless subwoofer.
The HTB10 is configured for use with 32-inch screen sizes and the subwoofer is integrated into the sound bar.
Panasonic also just started shipping its SC-ZT2 ($1,000) home theater system with a pair of wireless pole speakers that simulate a full 7.1-channel surround sound effect. The system supports full HD 3D content and is compatible with Audio Return Channel allowing the receiving of the audio signal through a single HDMI cable.
The virtual surround sound technology in the system takes advantage of the latest advanced surround-sound formats including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD 7.1.
Each speaker has four 1-inch tweeters along with a single long-stroke woofer that is 5 inches in diameter.
To support its 3D positions, Panasonic is a primary sponsor for DirecTV's three soon-to-air 3D channels, which will go live shortly. A handful of programmers have announced plans to offer 3D programming shortly to support new 3D TV sets. These include: ESPN (World Cup Soccer and the French Open), Yes Network (Yankees game on July 10), HDNet (a variety of short-form content), Wealth TV, and Discovery Network 3D (coming online at the end of 2010 or early 2011).